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Ontario Finance Minister Premier Dwight Duncan, right, delivers his 2012 Ontario budget as Ontario Premiere Dalton McGuinty listens at Queen's Park in Toronto, March 27, 2012. (Nathan Denette/Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Ontario Finance Minister Premier Dwight Duncan, right, delivers his 2012 Ontario budget as Ontario Premiere Dalton McGuinty listens at Queen's Park in Toronto, March 27, 2012. (Nathan Denette/Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Highlights of the 2012 Ontario budget Add to ...

From higher drug costs for seniors to a corporate tax rate freeze, here are some highlights from Tuesday’s Ontario budget:

Pay freezes

MPPs would see their pay remain the same for another two years (for a total of five years). Executives at hospitals, universities, colleges, school boards and agencies would see their pay remain the same for another two years (for a total of four years).

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Corporate tax rate freeze

The general corporate income tax rate would remain at 11.5 per cent until the budget is balanced. The rate had been set to drop to 10 per cent by July, 2013.

Pensions

Single-employer public sector pension plans would move to a 50-50 cost sharing formula between employees and their organization for ongoing contributions within five years. The government hopes this move, one that would greatly impact universities – many of which have their own pension plan – would help narrow the solvency deficit gap. The government is also looking to pool smaller pension plans under one large structure, with one set of rules. Where the province’s largest jointly sponsored pension plans face deficits, the government plans to legislate that future payouts would be reduced before considering any rise in contributions from employers or employees who are already near their reasonable limits.

Departmental cuts

Of the 26 government departments, 11 would see their budgets cut.

Seniors

Higher drug costs for higher-income seniors starting August, 2014, seniors with an income of more than $100,000 would have to pay an annual deductible of $100 plus 3 per cent of income over $100,000. The new deductible for a senior couple with a combined income of more than $160,000 would be $200 plus 3 per cent of income over $160,000. These seniors will also pay $6.11 per prescription. There would be no changes to seniors whose incomes fall below these thresholds.

Healthy homes renovation tax credit

The credit would apply to renovations that improve accessibility or help seniors with their mobility at home.

Ontario clean energy benefit cap

The benefit, which sees electricity users receive a 10 per cent rebate on their energy bill, would be capped at 3,000 kilowatts an hour per month. While most residents would unlikely exceed this, owners of very large homes and businesses would likely see a reduced rebate or none at all.

Jobs and Prosperity Council

A group that would advise the government on a plan to boost the province’s productivity and address innovation challenges. The council would also advise on how to consolidate and refocus existing business support programs.

Education

  • Full implementation of full-day kindergarten by September, 2014
  • Continuation of the 30-per-cent-off tuition grant for eligible full-time post-secondary students
  • Continuation of funding to ensure small class sizes in primary grades

Slower increase to child benefit

Maximum benefit level provided through the Ontario Child Benefit would be increased in two stages from $1,100 to $1,210 on July 1, 2013, and then to $1,310 on July 1, 2014.

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